Easy Lemon Rice

4.85 from 20 votes

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The next time you are craving a side dish, try this Lemon Rice recipe. This is a side dish that can be enjoyed with chicken, pork or fish and it’s low in calories. In addition, this Mediterranean style side dish is easy to make and will keep your family happy!

Lemon rice in a white bowl topped with lemon slices
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
  2. Ingredients in Lemon Rice
  3. Additions and Substitutions to Lemon Rice
  4. Questions about this Easy Lemon Rice Recipe
  5. What to Serve with Lemon Rice
  6. How to Make Easy Lemon Rice
  7. Easy Lemon Rice Recipe

Easy Lemon Rice Recipe

Say goodbye to ordinary white rice! You’ll start using this recipe for lemon rice as your go-to side dish for everything. Before realizing that a few easy pantry ingredients can quickly transform regular rice from dull to spectacular, I wasted years serving my family boring rice. It’s not just good for you; it’s divine! It is excellent on its own or with Greek chicken, pork, shrimp, veggies, beef or lamb kabobs. Together with basic spices, the subtle lemon flavor creates a delicious dish that also has a savory scent. This rich yet straightforward long grain side dish will improve your dining experience right in your home kitchen.

Ingredients in Lemon Rice

This rice has a beautiful Mediterranean flair, yet only uses easy to find, simple ingredients. Here’s all you need:

  • White rice – you can use any long grain rice you like, jasmine or basmati rice.
  • Water – you can use chicken broth to add more flavor, or add a tablespoon of butter to your boiling water.
  • Olive oil – substitute avocado oil or peanut oil if you like.
  • Fresh lemon juice – I use the juice of two fresh lemons, or you can use bottled lemon juice.
  • Garlic cloves – crushed or minced
  • Ginger – just a pinch of dried ginger or zest some fresh ginger into the rice mixture
  • ​Salt and pepper to taste

Additions and Substitutions to Lemon Rice

This easy rice recipe can be dressed up dozens of ways! Make it differently every time and your family will never get bored with rice for dinner. Here are a few ideas to add flavor to your grains:

  • For extra crunch, stir in a handful of your favorite nuts: slivered almonds, pistachios, pecans, peanuts, or cashews.
  • Throw in some raisins for a delicious texture and flavor.
  • For added flavor, try spicing things up with red chilies, curry leaves, chili powder, turmeric, fresh dill, coriander, urad dal, parsley or mustard seeds before you simmer. More like a Lemon Rice Pilaf.
  • No need to complicate the rice cooking process. Prepare your rice as you normally would, in a rice cooker, instant pot or on the stove top. Then add the extra ingredients as directed in the recipe card below.
  • For an even creamier texture, I’ve seen recipes where the rice is cooked in broth and milk instead of water. The milk gives the rice a soft, easy to fluff, creamy texture and flavor. I’ve never tried it in this particular recipe, but it’s next on my list!
  • For a more authentic Indian flavor, add cilantro, curry powder (about half a teaspoon) or diced green chiles.
  • For more of a Greek flavor add feta cheese and fresh herbs.
  • Garnish with thin lemon slices and cilantro.
lemon rice in a white bowl topped with lemon slices

Questions about this Easy Lemon Rice Recipe

What kind of rice should I use?

You can use white, brown, long grain or short grain rice with this recipe. The less starchy the rice, the better though, because you’ll want the rice grains to be separate rather then clumpy. This rice tastes much better without a mushy texture.

What if I don’t have fresh lemons?

Fresh squeezed lemon juice is best, but you can easily substitute bottled lemon juice too; it still gives off that fragrant lemony flavor and aroma. In a pinch, lime juice can be used too.

How long will leftovers last?

Keep leftover rice in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to three days. You can freeze this rice in a freezer bag for up to a month. Reheat by placing in the microwave until warm.

How does this compare to Greek Lemon Rice?

To make this more like a Greek rice you would simply need to add onions and fresh herbs.

What to Serve with Lemon Rice

This rice is delicious on its own or with any Indian or Greek style recipe. Try it as a side to grilled salmon, vegetables, or chicken souvlaki. Here are a few of our favorites:

How to Make Easy Lemon Rice

Lemon rice in a white bowl topped with lemon slices

Easy Lemon Rice

4.85 from 20 votes
Easy Lemon Rice is a fragrant, zesty, and oh so easy side dish! Simple yet savory, fast yet flavorful, this rice recipe will become a favorite in your family!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 10




  • Cook rice in a rice cooker or in a pan with a lid according to package directions.
    Cooked rice in an Instant Pot
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
    Lemon sauce in a small glass bowl
  • Pour the sauce slowly over rice while fluffing with a fork.
    Lemon sauce being poured onto rice
  • Serve and garnish with cilantro and lemon slices.
    Lemon rice in a white bowl topped with lemon slices

Nutrition Information

Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 4mgPotassium: 82mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 0.6mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. 5 stars

    I made this recipe last night, and it turned out great. 2 thumbs up from my two picky eaters, so it’s a definite keeper.

    I saw that for the small portion (The 1x) it called for the juice of 2 lemons, as well as for the 2x and the 3x. So I made the 3x. The juice of 2 lemons was perfect for that.

    In the recipe above, when switching between the 1x, 2x, and 3x all of the ingredients increase/decrease proportionally, with the exception of the lemon juice. Glitch in the up/down sizing program/widget/doo-hickey (That’s a technical term..honest)

  2. 2 stars
    I love lemon rice, and thought I would give this recipe a try. It came out so sour, it was inedible (and I love really lemony things, usually!) I had to make a second batch of rice to mix with it just so we could eat it. I used the juice of 2 lemons, maybe they were too big. And 3 tablespoons of olive oil is way too much as well.

    1. I am so sorry this recipe didn’t turn out for you. A lot of times in lemon recipes, the zest can be the problem. You might be zesting too far down and getting the white part under the skin into the zest. This will make the lemon zest very sour. I hope this helps!

  3. 5 stars
    Super delicious!! Made boring rice into something spectacular with so few ingredients!!! I always love lemon on my chicken cutlets and this makes such a great side!! 10000% will make again!! Thank you!!!

    1. Yes, that is correct. We use it as a side dish. If you are using it as a main dish, you’ll want to make more.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve never tried lemon rice. I am so intrigued and can’t wait to try it. The flavors sound amazing!

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe is so timely. My husband was just asking if maybe I could flavor the rice we eat quite a bit. Thanks so much!

  6. 5 stars
    This was so simple, yet so delicious! I garnished a few sliced almonds and parsley and served it with baked salmon! Thanks.